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Countries Information & Lifestyle
 Monaco Monaco

Country Information & Lifestyle

 Knights in White Satin

Knights in White Satin

The Principality of Monaco is a small sovereign city state located in Western Europe and lies on the northern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, completely enclosed by France. Monaco is often regarded as a tax haven and many of its inhabitants are wealthy and from foreign countries making up a majority of the population, at around 84%.

Monaco celebrates with passion the arts, culture, excellent cuisine, and high-adrenaline activities like the Formula One Grand Prix, casino gaming, land and water sports and exciting nightlife.

The natural and man-made attributes of this fairy-tale land, home and host to royalty and the brightest luminaries of painting, stage, film, dance, music and the business world for nearly 150 years, make it a matchless place. Monaco has a colourful and fascinating history filled with barbarians, kings and even a movie star, it is a history of castles,epic battles and untold riches.

Monaco is the second smallest principality in Europe and the most densely populated sovereign country. The principality has a surface area of 485 acres of which nearly 100 acres were recovered from the sea during the course of the last twenty years.

Monaco lies on a long narrow coastal strip which sometimes rises vertically upwards with its highest point 206 feet and its width varies between 65 miles to a mere 382 yards.

Monaco is a constitutional monarchy and principality with Prince Albert II the head of State. The Grimaldi family has ruled over Monaco since 1297 and the states sovereignty was officially recognised by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861. Despite being independent Monaco's defence is still the responsibility of France.

Situated in the heart of Mediterranean Europe the Principality enjoys a particularly mild climate with more than 300 days of sunshine per year. In winter the temperatures average between 48 to 58 degrees F with sunny days and cool nights and in the springtime "Le Mistral" wind creates crystal clear skies with temperatures in the 50's and 60's.

Most summers are in the 80's with hot spells for a week or so in July and August and sea breezes cool down the evenings. One of the loveliest times to be in Monaco is the Fall with temperatures in the 60's and 70's and people still on the beach until mid-October.

The principality was subdivided in 1911 into Monaco-Ville, the old city on a rocky promontory extending into the Mediterranean, known as the Rock of Monaco or simply La Rocher where the Palace is located. Here you will find the old fortified town, the Princes Palace, the ramparts, the gardens, the Cathedral and the Oceanographic Museum.

Monte Carlo is an exquisite emerald in a setting of craggy rocks rising from the azure blue Mediterranean Sea and basks between enchanting French medieval villages and the ski trails of the Alps.

It is the principal residential and resort area with the Monte Carlo Casino created in 1866 and named in honour of Prince Charles III, and hosts an internationally famous Casino in the east and north east, luxury hotels and leisure facilities, some recently created such as Monte Carlo Sporting Club and Larvott Beach.

La Condamine is the second oldest area in Monaco in the northwest section including the port area. The name comes from the Middle Ages meaning cultivable land at the foot of a village or castle.

Fontvielle is the newest area of the Principality of Monaco and was created from land reclaimed from the seas. This man-made waterfront area features a harbour, stadium and sports complex, heliport and a pollution-free industrial zone as well as some shopping areas and the new Columbus Monaco hotel and finally Moneghetti, home to the Revoires and the Exotic Gardens on the western border with Cap d'Ail.

Monte Carlo is on the Riviera between Provence and Italy close to the museum of Nice and the glamours shopping boulevards of Cannes. The Picasso Museum and world-famous Maeght Collection are nearby as well.

Trips to the medieval villages of St.Paul de Vence or Eze, the perfume factories of Grasse, Italy's ski slopes and the boutiques and markets of nearby San Remo are memorable events, as are private parties at Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in St.Jean Cap Ferrat or La Villa Kerylos in Beaulieu.

The Grimaldi ascent began one night in 1297, when Francois Grimaldi seized the fortress of Monaco from a rival Italian faction. Disguised as a monk, he successfully led a small army into the fortress reclaiming it in the name of the Pope. The legacy of his daring victory is recorded on Monaco's coat of arms, which bears two monks brandishing swords.

Over the next few centuries, Monaco prospered as an important port in major maritime trading routes and as a strategic naval base for European military powers that were constantly vying for control of The Rock.

In 1604, Lord Honore II came to the throne and launched Monaco into its "Great Century". Reflecting upon his accomplishments, he deigned himself worthy of a new title, Prince Honore II. Grimaldi rules have proudly held the title of Prince ever since.

Prince Rainier III ascended to the throne in 1949 and later caught the world's attention with his storybook marriage to actress Grace Kelly. Today, Monaco still stands as a proud monarchy with their son, H.S.H. Prince Albert II as its head of state.

Many of the traditions which bore witness to the last century have lapsed maybe only temporarily, but they are certainly not forgotten. The story of Sainte Devote is one of the most famous and goes back to the beginning of the 4th century.

There was on the island of Corsica a cruel governor who persecuted Christians. It was under these circumstances that Devote, who had vowed her life to the service of God was arrested, imprisoned and tortured. She died without denying her faith and her martyred corpse was placed by pious hands in a boat leaving for Africa.

But in the very early hours of crossing a storm arose and from the mouth of Sainte Devote a dove made its appearance. The storm then abated and the dove guided the boat right up to the coast of Monaco where it ran aground at the entrance to the little valley of the Gaumates on a bush bearing early blossoms.

The body was received by the small Christian community and on this day 17th January of the year 312 Sainte Devote took Monaco and its inhabitants under her protection.

Residents and sailors passing through Monaco went there to her tomb in greater and greater numbers to venerate the relics of the Saint and the first miracles took place. It was then that an evil idea took possession in the mind of an unscrupulous man, who in the dead of night stole the relics of the Saint with the intention of taking them beyond the seas and selling their power.

The intended sacrilege was cut short as Providence was watching. A group of fishermen witnessed the robbery and with a few strokes of their oars overtook the thief and his precious plunder and brought the boat back to the beach where the thief's boat was burnt.

Every year there is a torchlight procession, a religious ceremony and blessing followed by the setting on fire of a boat on a pyre decorated with olive, pine and laurel branches, a picturesque symbolic copy of the boats The evening finishes with a firework display over the Monaco harbour.

Monaco maybe small but is a jewel in the Mediterranean and one that you will enjoy exploring and learning about her illustrious past.

Purchasing a Property

Once you have agreed on a property and the price with the vendor it is normal to sign an agreement to purchase, a Compromis de Vente. At this stage under Monacan law you are required to pay a 10% to secure the property, this is held by your estate agent in Monaco. This agreement to purchase can be prepared either by your Monaco agent, legal adviser or the Monaco public notary.

The Compromis de Vente is a legally binding agreement between Monaco property purchaser and the seller. Under French law the purchaser has an eight day cooling off period and can withdraw from the property purchase and get their deposit returned in full. After the eight day period if you change your mind and withdraw from the sale agreement you will lose your deposit. When the seller signs the agreement he is committed to sell the Monaco property to you.

Any conditions of sale should be entered into the property sale agreement now i.e. if you require a mortgage in Monaco the agreement should read "subject to the mortgage being approved". An accurate description of the property being sold, plus any items of furniture included in the sale should be entered into the property sale agreement at this time to avoid any problems later.

Properties in Monaco constructed after a certain date requires to be inspected and a report prepared to confirm the absence of termites lead, and asbestos.

Now that the property sale agreement has been signed, your Monaco agent will check the properties title deed.

Any mortgage applications will be dealt with by a Public Notary who will charge an additional 1% of the value of the loan for this service.

At this stage you could need advice on taxation, depending on circumstances it might be to your advantage to purchase the property in a company name rather than an individuals name.

After all conditions relating to the property sale agreement have been met, both parties meet at the Notary's office to go through the documents (in French) before the property transfer document is signed and the balance of the property sale price, the property sales tax, the Notarios fees plus any minor expenses, the 1% fee for signing the mortgage agreement (if required) are paid to the Notary at this point.

You will get a receipt for the purchase price of the Monaco property plus receipts for taxes and fees paid in Monaco and a document confirming your purchase (attestation de propriete) and the keys to what is now your property in Monaco.

Later you will receive an exemplified copy of the property purchase deed, the original is held by the Monaco notary.

Fees & Taxes

Notary fees plus supplementary expenses such as copies and stamps range from 1.5% to 2.5%.

Real estate agent's commission is paid by both parties, 5% (plus 19.6% VAT) for the seller and 3% (plus 19.6% VAT) for the buyer.

Property sales tax 5% Notario fees plus any minor expenses 2% the 1% for signing the mortgage agreement if required are paid to the Notary at this point.


Any person of foreign nationality who wishes to enter Monegasque territory and stay there for a period not exceeding three months must have a passport, travel or identity document required for entry into French territory.
French subjects must merely be holders of the national identity card.

No other formality is required of foreigners who wish to travel to Monaco.

Any foreigner, except French nationals, who wishes to live in Monaco for a period longer than three months or establish residence there, must meet the following requirements:

Members of the EEU are exempt from applying for a permanent residence permit in Monaco. Therefore, in order to obtain a Monegasque temporary residence permit, they must apply to the Residents' Section of the Department of Public Safety of the Principality and provide the following documents:

1. A copy of his police record or affidavit or any equivalent document.
2. An affidavit that they have never been convicted.
3. A working contract stamped by the Employment Office of the Principality or any other professional evidence or a request for authorisation to set up a business, a company or a bank certificate proving sufficient means of existence.
3. A medical certificate.
4. A contract of lease or promise of lease or an accommodation certificate (examined by an ad hoc commission) or a property deed.
5. Two recent photographs.
6. Their passport.

Nationals of a State, which is not member of the European Economic Area and residing outside of France are required to apply to the relevant French Consulate for a Permanent residence permit. They must provide the consular post with the following documents.

1. A copy of his police record or affidavit or any equivalent document.
2 An affidavit that they have never been convicted.
3. A working contract stamped by the Employment Office of the Principality or any professional evidence or a request for authorisation to set up a business, a company or a bank certificate proving sufficient means of existence;.
4. A medical certificate.
5. A contract of lease or promise of lease or a certificate of lodging (examined by an ad hoc commission) or a property deed or an undertaking written by the person concerned to produce one of the four pieces of evidence here above mentioned within three months of his/her arrival in the Principality.
6. Nine photographs.
7. A photocopy of their passport.
8. Nine copies of the form requesting a long-stay visa.

After obtaining this permit every foreigner over sixteen years of age is required to apply for a Monaco temporary residence permit to the Residents' Section of the Department of Public Safety within eight days of arrival in the Principality.

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